All big movements start small, but many would be surprised to learn that Ten Thousand Villages—a nonprofit and retailer with 390 outlets nationwide—began out of a car trunk. In 1946, Edna Ruth Byler started the organization out of her car, taking a name from a quote by Mohandas Gandhi, who said, “India is not to be found in its few cities but in the 700,000 villages.” Her willpower and determination allowed her vision to grow into a nonprofit that today supports more than 130 artisans in 38 developing countries. These artisans' wares go on sale at the organization's nationwide retail outlets, which brim with items including jewelry, home decor, and refrigerator cozies.
Everything is made using environmentally friendly processes, and every artisan is paid a fair wage. The money raised from sales goes to supply the artisans—who might otherwise be unemployed or underemployed—with education, food, housing, and healthcare. The organization has risen to such stature that it won the People’s Choice Award for Green Business of the Year in 2005, and has acted as one of the founding members of the World Fair Trade Organization.
Our store and workshop are unique in the glass business. We offer a wide variety of handmade products as well as an unequaled collection of glass gifts, mission and arts & crafts furniture, and Tiffany-style lighting. We also offer a wide range of stained glass, mosaic and beadmaking classes.
For more than two decades, American Mattress has promoted peaceful slumber in bedchambers throughout the Midwest with their vast selection of mattresses, headboards, and linens. The sleep experts strive to stay abreast of the latest bedding technology: their Serta mattresses are made with gel foam that supports curves, and Tempur-Pedic mattresses repel allergens, mites, and poltergeists looking to spoon. This devotion to a good night’s sleep has helped them earn the title of Best Mattress Store from suburban Chicago’s Daily Herald five years in a row. Additionally, American Mattress doubles down on each of its beds with a 30-day comfort guarantee and a 60-day best-price guarantee.
Walter E. Smithe's huge showrooms contain more than 500 collections of high-quality designer furniture and home accessories, stocking brands including Drexel Heritage, Nourison, Hancock and Moore, and Bradington-Young. Fill a brass-trimmed vase ($119) with flowers, pencils, or wishes, or keep winter moisture stylishly contained in a hand-painted umbrella stand ($99). Walter E. Smithe's selection of four-legged pieces includes an Ontario end table ($299) and a Louise chair ($599). Most products come with impressive warranties, including a 10-year guarantee for every cushion on the comfy Kayla sofa ($1,749).
Building on winter sport know-how for four decades, Viking Ski Shop boasts an educated staff that custom-fit boots and outfits winter sports enthusiasts of all ages with quality gear. Prevent a case of frigid digits with Kombi waterguard gloves ($38) or keep warm with Hot Chillys Underware for men or women ($38). Children can keep cozy on the slopes or all winter long in T-neck pull over fleeces from Spyder Speed ($49), named for arachnids whose eight legs power them down slopes faster than conventional skis. Killtec Namara men's fleeces swaddle torsos in downy and fashionable comforts ($49) while collisions with obstinate snowmen are softened when wearing a Giro G9 helmet ($99). Both shops are closed on Wednesdays.